Whether you’re an SMB or large corporation, the internet should be at the core of your marketing, sales, and collaboration efforts.
Now, the majority of businesses have an online presence. However, some businesses don’t. For example, 28% of small businesses are still yet to launch a website. In the era of online browsing and shopping, this is a crazy statistic – especially when you consider the recent pandemic, which has led to many consumers having to ditch physical stores for online ones.
So, if your business is lagging behind the times, here are 6 ways the internet can help to grow your business. From making your website SEO-optimized to implementing a hybrid work model, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
- SEO and White Hat Link Building
Firstly, Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In marketing, new trends are constantly emerging. However, SEO is a strategy that has been around for some time and continues to grow in strength. In fact, 70% of marketers see SEO as more effective than PPC (pay-per-click), which says a lot.
If you didn’t know already, SEO is the process of driving more visitors to your website – it’s simple. Here are some of the ways you can do this:
- Focus on white hat backlinks so that your website ranks higher in search engine results (such as Google and Bing). Find out more at: https://linkflow.ai/white-hat-link-building/
- Post blogs and articles on your website that include industry keywords and informative content
- Reach out to other websites that are relevant to your industry and request to submit guest posts (such as articles and blogs)
- Ensure that your website is user-friendly with high-quality subheadings
Once you grasp the SEO side of the equation (with Google’s algorithm in mind), your business will soon start to race up the rankings. In turn, more people will visit your website and subsequently buy your products and services.
Over the past decade, online shopping has exploded in popularity. In particular, 2020 was the biggest year for growth, as it witnessed eCommerce sales increase by 44% (as mentioned in the introduction, this is largely due to the fact that stores have been closed, more people have been spending time at home, and smartphone ownership has increased).
Therefore, your business must launch an online store if you want to experience significant growth. At the very least, you should be looking to sell products through already established online retailers such as Amazon or eBay (but your own online store should be the priority).
If you don’t have the time or resources to launch a store through your website, you should consider using the Shopify platform. Shopify allows business owners and entrepreneurs to customize their own stores, sell products, communicate with customers, and much more. If you need convincing of Shopify’s potential value to your business, here’s an interesting fact: more than 1.7 million merchants sell via the Shopify platform. In the future, this figure is only going to increase, so it’s highly recommended that you stay ahead of the curve by joining them.
3. The Power of Social Media
97% of Fortune 500 companies rely on social media. Sure, these companies are in a different league from everybody else, but it sends a clear message: social media is invaluable to businesses.
Because of this, you should create business profiles for your business on all the major social media platforms, including:
Across your pages, you will be able to post interesting content (such as product updates and Q&As addressing customer concerns) as well as build stronger relationships with your customers.
Remember, brands now mostly communicate with their audiences digitally rather than face-to-face, and social media is the driving force behind this.
To build your social media followers, make sure to use industry hashtags that customers search for. You should then implement these hashtags into your posts (especially if you’re a small business with little to no followers). This way, your posts will gain more traction, even if they don’t immediately receive likes and comments.
Also, many companies now pay for advertisement slots on social media platforms, with Facebook being one of the favorites for this. Facebook currently accounts for more than 9% of digital advertising and 18.4% of global mobile advertising, which is impressive, to say the least. However, if your business is on a tight budget, Facebook Ads might be out of the question for the time being.
4. Email Marketing
There was a brief period in history where it seemed as though email marketing was done and dusted. However, it has seen a major resurgence over the past several years. Now, 89% of marketers use email as their primary channel for generating leads. Essentially, marketers and companies send millions of emails out a day to sell products, promote their services, and strengthen people’s relationships with their brands.
So, if you don’t do it already, it’s highly recommended that you start to use email marketing as one of your primary tools for growth.
Open rates are the best way to tell whether your emails are working. Right now, the average email open rate for companies across all major industries is 21.33%. Essentially, this means that a little under 1 in 4 people open the emails they receive from companies. Although this might sound like a low number, this is actually very exciting – as there’s more than enough opportunity here for your business to thrive.
When you send out marketing emails to customers, make sure to:
- Personalize your emails (refer to the customer by name, make reference to relevant personal details, mention previous purchases)
- Include strong branding (from logos to imagery)
- Include at least one strong call-to-action (usually, this will be a link that directs the customer to your website to buy a product)
- Make your subject line snappy and eye-catching (avoid words and phrases that sound like spam)
- Track the engagement levels (many companies offer email marketing software that provides you with analytics such as how many people opened your emails and how many people clicked on the call-to-action)
Once you master the art of genuine and authentic email marketing, you will be on the right track.
If you want an example of excellent email marketing, look no further than Uber.
Uber makes a clear point of regularly emailing their customers (or ‘riders’). Their emails are short, to the point, easy on the eye, and usually have a call-to-action button right in the middle.
Uber’s emails typically revolve around their latest promotions and offers, such as discounted rides that customers can take advantage of for a select period of time.
5. Hybrid Work
Next, your business can use the internet to implement a hybrid work model.
A hybrid work model is when employees have greater flexibility with their schedules.
In the current era, many companies are now allowing employees to work remotely from home (as well as choose their hours). This is only possible because of the internet.
Through the use of different tech devices – such as computers and tablets – employees can work comfortably from different locations while remaining in contact with their co-workers and managers. Video communication platforms – such as Zoom – have proven to be a popular communication medium for this.
Hybrid work is great for growing your business, as it means you can hire an unlimited number of employees from different cities and even countries, enabling you to break down potential long-distance barriers. For example, the talent pool for your vacancies might be limited domestically but thriving in other countries. Therefore, if hybrid work is part of your business model, you’ll have no problem hiring them.
It’s worth noting that (in 2021) 70% of people who worked from home during the pandemic reported that virtual meetings are less stressful than face-to-face ones. Additionally, 64% of people prefer hybrid meetings altogether.
With this in mind, your business must decide to embrace the new hybrid work trend rather than distance itself from it. After all, it seems more than likely that hybrid work is the future.
6. Cloud Computing
Lastly, you can substantially grow your business through the use of cloud computing solutions.
In simple terms, cloud computing is when you use data and programs over the internet instead of through a computer hard drive (hence the ‘cloud’ name, as there’s no physical hardware involved).
Google Cloud Computing is an example of a popular cloud platform with people and businesses.
Cloud computing enables businesses to:
- Scale-up without having to worry as much about physical equipment
- Improve their collaboration efforts through virtual collaboration and chat
- Store tons of customer data and information securely online
- Become more environmentally friendly
- Experience greater mobility, as remote employees can access programs and data over the internet from any location
So, suppose your business is lagging behind the times and is yet to enter the world of cloud computing. In that case, it’s highly recommended that you and your employees speak to a cloud service provider so that your business can quickly modernize and experience faster growth moving forward.
In conclusion, this article has discussed 6 highly effective ways your business can grow using the internet. All of the above-mentioned methods are going to be essential as the future unfolds.
- SEO marketing will help your business to create a stronger (and more organic) online presence.
- Launching an online store will grow your profits and future-proof your business, as consumers are becoming more reliant on online shopping than ever before.
- Social media will continue to be the main marketing tool used by companies around the world. Therefore, the faster you can build your presence on platforms such as Twitter, the better.
- In the age of loyalty programs and subscription services, email marketing will be a key tool for communicating with existing and potential customers.
- Hybrid work is the future. It’s good for businesses, employees, and the environment, so it seems inevitable that it will continue to thrive.
- Your business can no longer rely on paper documents and hardware to truly grow. Instead, you need to operate digitally, and this is where cloud computing comes into the equation.
Upon successfully implementing these strategies, your business will experience substantial growth while gaining a stronger foothold in your industry.